Albuquerque is not so accessible to the likes of me....

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2012/05/01 07:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2012/05/01/10299370.aspx


Nothing technical, though I'm technically pretty disappointed with New Mexico at the moment....

I am in Albuquerque right now.

With my girlfriend.

The trip was kind of last minute, but I figured over the past few years I've taken the iBot all over India.

So how hard could Albuquerque be? :-)

The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, located at the Pueblo of Isleta, is in Albuquerque.

Population over half a million.

The largest city in New Mexico.

Easy, right?

Not so much, as it turns out.

No taxi cab company had wheelchair accessible cabs.

No car rental company had car or truck or van available.

The volunteer at the information desk was doing his best, but even he was apologizing on behalf of Albuquerque, and New Mexico, every few minutes when yet another call he'd make would fall through.

I won't  name the churches that wouldn't take non-parishoners in their shuttles, though they didn't even apologize all that sincerely.

So much for "being good Christians" -- all of them were unavailable to assist.

The volunteer admitted this happened earlier in the day, too.

I asked if he had any details.

It was a wounded veteran who was trying to get to the V.A. Hospital.

Of course I wondered how the situation resolved itself.

The fire department took a break from getting cats out of trees to give the veteran a ride....

Probably a tough sell to get them to get me to a hotel!

Assuming I could find a way to roll out of the airport, the shortest hotel route is 10.2 miles away.

And me with a mere 50% of my battery available.

Crap.

The A.D.A. may have its limitations in how it low-balls accessibility. But if the "not compliant' sticker had to be put on the map, this place might win, hands down.

Thanks to heroic efforts of the assistant manager at the Hard Rock and two guys who lifted into the back of a shuttle while I transferred, I could have missed everything.

Including my girlfriend!

Pretty awful story about Albuquerque and accessibility, in any case....

I have to consider upcoming trips to North Carolina and Oklahoma, to make sure they have a better story here -- or if not, then how to at least jury-rig a story.

Anyone want to take bets on their respective accessibility stories? :-)


John Cowan on 1 May 2012 8:36 AM:

Based on no experience, I'd expect it to be either pisspoor or shiny new state of the art in both places.  Sometimes a small place can upgrade faster than a big one.  A Californian friend of mine was shocked, two decades ago, to see how un-accessible New York City was: I explained that it's a matter of money and politics.

Currently, our bus story is excellent (working lifts, retractable seats, and tie-down straps on all buses, and an increasing number of low-floor ones), but only a few subway stops have been retrofitted with elevators throughout (typically the barrier is the access to street level, but sometimes it's internal).  Paratransit vans are available, but frequently very late, and I believe they are accessible only to registered locals, not to out-of-towners (you have to go in person for an interview).

Many curbs have cuts, but by no means all, and of course huge numbers of residential buildings have no elevators and never will until they are torn down and rebuilt from scratch.  Indeed, when my own building was gutted in the mid-90s, a ramp was added outside the building to bypass the one-step barrier, but there was simply no room for an interior elevator (and no funds in the budget either, as the city paid for the renovation for complex reasons).  So only the two ground-floor apartments are accessible.

An annoying problem is that the disability lobby is completely dominated by wheelchair users, which means that people who can walk, but not far or fast, are often SOL.  For example, an elevator will exist, but it will be completely out of the way, to the point where it is less painful to struggle up or down a flight of stairs than to walk hundreds of additional steps in each direction.  In particular, subway stairs are at a 1:1 riser/runner ratio, but they cannot be renovated closer to the ideal ratio of 2:13, because doing so would not officially remove a barrier to access -- though in fact it is a huge barrier for almost everyone who's not young and entirely healthy.


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